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Calls for a Job Retention Scheme in the Charity and Not-for-Profit sector

Posted by Claire Stradling

30 charity leaders have written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, requesting the need for  a job-retention scheme for the Charity & Not-for-Profit Sector.

Civil society leaders call for the Chancellor to reassess decisions to ensure communities are supported, and fund  as the best way to recover from the pandemic. The letter highlighted that the sector faces a “critical dilemma” and calls for a tailored job retention programme. 

The coalition is led by the Charity Finance Group and backed by over thirty other UK organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, Association of Charitable Foundations, Acevo (the charity leaders’ body) and the Small Charities Coalition. They represent thousands of charities and social enterprises nationally across the UK. 

The request for a time-limited scheme that enables organisations in the sector to furlough staff and allow them to volunteer their time and skills back to their not-for-profit, public benefit employer has been raised by the group for the Chancellor’s consideration. The letter highlights that the sector faces a “critical dilemma” and calls for a tailored job retention programme. 

“The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was an exceptionally generous scheme which was welcomed by the sector and which charities and social enterprises have availed themselves of during its first phase,” the letter states. “However, as a scheme designed predominantly with private enterprise in mind, it had the perverse effect of incentivising mothballing of provision and not mobilisation.

It finishes with, “It is counterproductive to be paying for a charity or social enterprise employee to stop working when our citizens so desperately need helplines, advice, support and guidance; whether on mental health, unemployment, homelessness or loneliness and isolation.”

 From my perspective as a recruiter in the NFP and charities space, a delayed response for the need of support in the third sector space can be detrimental to charities delivering their services in these unprecedented times. It certainly is a ‘social dilemma’: Access the government’s job retention scheme to save on salary costs, and thereby closing or reducing vital services, or risk financial collapse. 

The sector is so well served by those giving their time and skills on a voluntary basis, and yet employees who often work in the sector because of the cause and wanting to make a difference are unable to do so if they want too. Whilst this rule was undoubtedly made to stop rogue employers abusing the scheme and employee’s rights; should the charity sector be different? 

I am interested in hearing your thoughts? Some have had the added cost of seeking short term, and part time interim flexible workers to help and we have certainly seen an increase in demand for part time and shorter term flexible interim workers. Please reach out on 020 7269 6351 or email me claire.stradling@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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